Recreational therapist Kevin Stairs honoured.
When Kevin Stairs was approached to organize the annual big bike fundraiser at Harbour View Hospital in Sydney Mines, he didn’t expect any recognition.
“We started doing it because it felt good and it was a really nice team effort,” said Stairs. “When all of our co-workers are on the bike and everyone is laughing, it doesn’t feel like it’s something you’re putting a whole lot of effort into.”
Stairs has been organizing the event in the Sydney Mines community for the past seven years. His hard work and dedication was recently recognized with the Heart and Stroke Foundation outstanding volunteer award.
Stairs was presented the award by Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor J.J. Grant during a ceremony in late April in Halifax.
“I was very surprised,” said Stairs when asked his first reaction to the news. “Typically you don’t volunteer for any recognition. It was really nice, I’m proud of what we’ve done over the past seven years and we fully plan to continue doing it.”
Stairs, originally from Prince Edward Island, has been working as a recreational therapist at Harbour View Hospital for the past nine years. He graduated from Dalhouise University in 1996. He later
moved to Florida, where he worked in a brain injury facility for three years, prior to moving to Cape Breton, where he lives with his wife, daughter and son.
When Stairs was asked to be the team captain — otherwise known as the organizer — for the Sydney Mines event, the decision was easy.
“It goes hand-and-hand with our hospital because we have a rehabilitation part of the hospital that I work in and a number of patients that come here have been affected by stroke,” said Stairs. “For us to participate in Heart and Stroke is a really easy sell for me.”
The Heart and Stroke Foundation big bike fundraiser takes place across the province. The big bike is a team event geared towards companies, community organizations and groups. Teams are made up of 29 enthusiastic riders who each commit to raise $50 or more
to support heart disease and stroke research.
“It’s a lot easier to get people to participate now than it was the first several years,” laughed Stairs. “People would tell me they couldn’t ride a bike or that they haven’t driven a bike in 20 or 30 years, but I would tell them it’s the size of a haywagon and it has four wheels, you can’t fall off.”
Over the past seven years, the Harbour View Hospital team
has raised $20,000 through the big bike event for the foundation.
“We’re pretty proud of what we have done for such a small little building,” said Stairs. “Working at the hospital, I have seen how heart disease and stroke affects people, so it was hard not to get involved in the fundraiser, which we feel is really important.”
Although it’s still a couple of months away, Stairs said the staff at the hospital is looking forward to the fundraiser.
The date for the event is unknown at this time, but it’s expected to take place sometime in July.
Following this year’s event, the group plans to immediately register for the 2018 big bike event, in order to continue showing their support for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
People would tell me they couldn't ride a bike or that they haven't driven a bike in 20 or 30 years, but I would tell them it's the size of a hay-wagon and it has four wheels, you cant fall off"
Kevin Stairs, right, of Bras d’Or, is shown receiving his Heart and Stroke Foundation outstanding volunteer award from J.J. Grant, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. Stairs received the award for his work with the foundation’s big bike fundraiser in Sydney Mines.